t l v r

Filing Down a Steel Bar Until a Needle is Made, 2013 – Present

Performance & Installation
Artist himself, steel Bar, hand file, file handles, filing, Ink stamp on wall
Dimension Variable: 173 x 7.5 dia. cm (Steel Bar); 10 x 4 dia. cm (each File Handle); ca. 25 x 4 x 4 cm (Hand File)

Selected Exhibitions

“Filing Down A Steel Bar Until A Needle Is Made”, Tintype Gallery, London, UK

Artist Statement

“This is no longer a singular work, it evolves into a trilogy.” Morgan Wong

This is all begin in 2011 before Wong come to London, when he first conceives the idea of filing down a steel bar until a needle is made. The idea is a reference to an ancient Chinese allegory which revolves around one’s will and determination. Since then, a steel bar of 173cm and weighting 63kg has since been placed in the artist’s studio and awaiting for Wong’s action.

Where is the Sage is the first episode of this trilogy. Rumor of Wong would start filing a metal bar with his body dimension was spreading among his social circle. The artist arranged the metal bar alongside a pile of rocks as well as some dried branches to mimic the scene where the allegory has happened, if it ever did. Everything was ready, except the artist himself. Some people simply believed this ‘hopeless impossible task’ would never be carried out; some continued to spread the myth; while some suggested alternative solutions. Almost two years have gone, however, Wong is not at all interested in the illusory way in succeeding the result, as obviously this is not the spirit of his works in materialization of time and neither to his paragon, Tehching Hsieh.

Frustration of Having More than Two Choices to Make in Life is a video work produced after and based on Wong’s intensive meditative days of isolation from the world but only situating himself with the steel bar and a hand file in an empty space. This was originally aimed as a practice for a later public performance in Sept 2013. Within the two days, not much have been physically done by Wong apart from simply gazing at the metal bar for half a day; or at the hand file for another half day. While still deciding whether this was the moment to start what is likely to be a life-long task, he spent the second day lying on the floor, as to create a direct visual connection to the bar’s and his body dimension, and was dreary repeating the phase “now or later”. “Godot”, who or what Wong might be waiting for two years, came in the end, and Wong can finally move on.

Filing Down a Steel Bar until a Needle is Made will be a durational performance as promised.


Performance & Installation View at Tintype Gallery

Performance View at Tintype Gallery

Installation View at Tintype Gallery